LITTLE FALLS, Minn. - Outside Little Falls, there are 17 charred acres of beautiful land lined with towering pines.

Now that the wildfire is out, Minnesota DNR foresters can say their job was a success.

"This could have been much worse," said Jason Kern, DNR Forester.

But while fighting the fire, they ran into a hazard that Kern says could have been catastrophic.

Someone was flying a drone, or a small unmanned aircraft, possibly to photograph the wildfire, right among the helicopters and air tankers fighting the flames.

"It flew over the top of the helicopter as it was maneuvering over the fire," Kern said.

The DNA has strict safety rules, and they had to immediately land the helicopters.

"So we just want to get the message out. Just stay away from fires. You know, it's neat to look at them and get those photos, but it's just not safe," Kern said.

Flying a drone while a firefighting helicopter is in the sky isn't just dangerous, it's illegal. Interfere with firefighting operations and you could be charged with a crime.

"This is a growing problem nationwide," Kern said.

Luckily the air tankers had already dropped one load of water on this grass fire. After they landed, the crews on the ground were able to put the rest of the flames out.

They weren't able to find the drone operator.

But DNR Foresters like Jason want everyone to know -- if they're flying, you can't be.

"It really takes a tool out of our toolbox to fight these fires," Kern said.